#1 humor site on the 'net

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda

Sorting the wheat from the chaff in B.C. Politics

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda thanks to John Winter

The Pros and Cons of the 2018 B.C. Referendum on Electoral Reform

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda thanks to John Winter

Today (First Past the Post, FPTP) vs Proportional Representation (PR)

Proportional Representation - the Real Agenda thanks to John Winter

Referendum Ballot with FPTP (First Past the Post) Option Selected



'The Big Lie'

“In the coming weeks, British Columbians will be asked to vote in a very important referendum on changing how we elect our MLAs, not an insignificant initiative. We’ve rejected proportional representation twice before. It’s essential we do so a third time. I support our current voting system, which is simple, produces stable governments and is one of the institutional pillars that all our successes stand on. On the first question on the ballot, I urge you to vote in favour of First Past the Post (FPTP), option one. The alternative is to jump into the unknown. Three versions of Proportional Representation (PR) are on offer. Two have never been used or tried anywhere in the world and the third is presently used in just four countries. That third option is called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). It was soundly rejected in BC by the hard-working Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2005 because of the damage it does to local representation.

I point this out because there is a big lie in this referendum campaign. It underscores everything proponents of electoral reform say. The claims that PR jurisdictions out-perform ones like ours, or that PR improves voter turn-out or that the environment fares better under their preferred electoral system are not comparing apples to apples. Such claims stand on a foundation of misdirection, lies and obfuscations. That is because the electoral systems that inform the research findings are not even on the ballot in BC this fall.

The Yes side says PR is used in more than 80 countries. In truth, only four countries actually use any of the forms that appear on BC’s referendum ballot. The rest use some form of “list” PR. That means parties make lists of candidates to be elected, and seats are allocated based on the overall proportion of votes. Over 90% of the countries held up as examples use electoral systems BC isn’t even voting on. Citizens of countries that do use list system are becoming very uncomfortable with this form of election. The evidence is clear on at least two fronts.

First, radical parties of the left and the right are taking advantage of the low threshold to win a seat. They seize on voters’ fears and frustrations and run single-issue, municipal-style campaigns based on emotion, ignoring vast swathes of policy. You can see this today in Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, even Italy, which has had 61 governments in 67 years under such systems.

Secondly, countries are constantly fiddling with their electoral processes to try and make a flawed system work better. New Zealand has recently passed a bill that would strip MPs of their seat if they switch parties or their leader kicks them out of the party. Germany is trying for the third time to introduce a vote threshold to minimize small parties. The second question on our ballots in the fall referendum reflects the dense academic nature of this attempt to fix proportional representation.

Let’s look at the one option on the ballot used in the real world - MMP. Under this model 40% of the elected members are from party lists. This means constituencies will be at least 40% larger, with a real impact in the north and interior of BC. For example, the provincial riding of Stikine already large, if increased by 40% to allow for party lists, would be larger than New Zealand! Taking systems in use in small countries and transferring them to BC in a social experiment disenfranchises people outside the Lower Mainland. There is nothing fair about that. Local representation is cast aside.

On the No side, we know how important a local MLA is. Our current system, First Past the Post (FPTP) puts local representation first, where it should be. Most countries which use FPTP are or were members of the British Commonwealth. It is part of our heritage, part of who we are as Canadians, mirroring our Parliamentary traditions.

MMP is used for parliamentary elections in four countries including Germany and New Zealand. In Germany, it took almost six months to form a coalition government after last September's election, and is growing ever more fragile. Germany’s Bundestag is now home to seven parties, including radical parties on both the right and the left. Proportional representation amplifies their impact by giving them legitimacy and resources to advance their extremist agendas.

New Zealand recently switched electoral systems to MMP. It’s not going well. The current government is a hodge-podge of the Labour Party, the Greens and an anti-immigrant party called New Zealand First. The latter two members didn’t elect a single member in constituency elections by getting the most votes. They leveraged their seven percent of the popular vote into four cabinet posts, including that of Deputy Prime Minister.

This is the big lie.

PR promoters claim that proportional representation is the solution to all our electoral woes and point to its widespread use around the world. The truth is that the options we’ve been given are complex, esoteric and used in very few places with little experience to point to. We’ve rejected changing our system in referendums twice this century for very good reasons. How many more times do we have to go to this well? Another lie is in the details. All three options on the ballot leave the important details, including maps and the number of MLAs until after the referendum. It’s only then the NDP/Green marriage of convenience will carefully choose those to favour their electoral prospects. This referendum is a desperate move to give the Green party a permanent platform. If they can elect three people in a small corner of the province, they deserve three seats.

With apologies to Churchill, FPTP is the worst electoral system, except for all the others. Vote to keep our current system, and ignore the lies, vote to keep the status quo.”

by John Winter, Past President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, October 2018
 

The new guide from Elections B.C. doesn't tell us that, based on historical voting patterns, our future under proportional representation will consist entirely of successive minority governments, dickering for power through backroom deals with splinter groups. It doesn't tell us that the balance of power may be in the hands of any radical bunch that can get five per cent of the popular vote. It also doesn't tell us that all future provincial elections will be fought and decided in Vancouver and Victoria, while the rest of the province is relegated to insignificance. Pro-rep guarantees all three outcomes. Count me as a decided 'No! Clare Stevens, October 2018


QuotaBills
Voting is a civic sacrament. - Theodore Hesburgh

Take it from me - elections matter. - Al Gore

There is no gambling like politics. - Benjamin Disraeli

Television is democracy at its ugliest. - Paddy Chayefsky

Information is the currency of democracy. - Unknown

All government, of course, is against liberty. - H L Mencken

If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal. - Emma Goldman

Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote. - George Jean Nathan

Honor is not the exclusive property of any political party. - Herbert Hoover

A government is the only known vessel that leaks from the top. - James Reston

We have the best government in the world... that money can buy. - Mark Twain

War has rules, mud wrestling has rules - politics has no rules. - Ross Perot

Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather Boa. - Allen Ginsberg

Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. - Mao Zedong

Politics is a profession where the paths of glory lead but to the gravy. - Billy Boy Franklin

Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure. - Bertrand Russell

Democracy is when the indigent, and not the men of property, are the rulers. - Aristotle

My sheer existence is like a political act to a lot of people. It's not to me. - Grimes

Personally, I'm against political jokes. Too often they get elected to office. - Henny Youngman

I love Canada. I am from Canada. I will bash the Canadian government but never Canada. - Jason Priestley

I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it's the government. - Woody Allen

Officialese: A government language where you can understand the words, but not the sentences - Daffynitions joe-ks.com

Good thing we've still got politics in Texas - finest form of free entertainment ever invented. - Molly Ivins

Politics, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong. - Richard Armour

When governments become large, voters cannot exercise close oversight, otherwise known as political power. - Maggie Gallagher

I don't look for much to come out of government ownership as long as we have Democrats and Republicans. - Kin Hubbard

At present, our country needs women's idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else. - Shirley Chisholm

Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. - Thurgood Marshall

Harold MacMillan is a very intelligent man, who, as so often happens in politics, achieved supreme power too late. - Malcolm Muggeridge

Canada's political parties spend a few years in opposition and then govern as if it's permanent payback time. - Bob Rae

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote. - Benjamin Franklin

It's especially hard if the government is not providing services, or is even conducting ethnic cleansing against you. - Paul Harvey

I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other. - Napoleon Bonaparte

The workers' and peasants' government proposes to all warring peoples... negotiations leading to a just, democratic peace. - Lenin

A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life. - John Stuart Mill

Politicians also have no leisure, because they are always aiming at something beyond political life itself, power and glory, or happiness. - Aristotle

A man who cannot work without his hypodermic needle is a poor doctor. The amount of narcotic you use is inversely proportional to your skill. - Martin H. Fischer

When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home. - Winston Churchill

If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep. - Will Rogers

I once said to my father, when I was a boy, 'Dad we need a third political party.' He said to me, 'I'll settle for a second.' - Ralph Nader


Party Direction Sign

House 'Broke'rage

'Piece of Cake' Resignation Letter

Bee Safe

Catfish Noodling

I'm A Believer

Sewing Sculpture

Greatest Italian Riders

Batman Recession

Sinus Remedy - How To Clear Out Your Nostrils

About Grandparents

Split Personality Ad

Happy Bithday

Back 2 School Savings

Redneck Wine Dispenser

Balloon Advertising for Exploding Results

Cowboy Baby Carrier

Make Womb For Baby

Turtle Truck

Zipper Building

Hobo Facebook

Cart Man - Biker To The Rescue

'I Look Like My Dog' Contest

Employee Happiness Kit